The title “Looking for Alibrandi” fits this novel perfectly. At first, the title didn’t have a great deal of meaning to me. However, as I continued to read the novel I started to realize just how relevant the title and the novel was and how it described the life of the main character Josephine Alibrandi, or Josie as she is called in the novel. Josie has always known that she was born out of wedlock to her mother Christina Alibrandi and has never known her father. Her whole sense of family is further rocked when in her 17th year she finds out that her grandmother had an extra marital affair and that Alibrandi is not even her family name. At the time she is dealing with this revelation her world is further complicated by the unexpected arrival of her father Michael Andretti. All through her life Josie has struggled with her personal identity, her desire to know her father and why he abandoned her, her cultural identity and family background and with the usual teenage friendship and peer group pressures. Josie is 17 years old and this year she is turning 18 and she is dealing with what every teenager is dealing with: Who is she? What does she want out of life? What does she want to do?
“Alibrandi” is supposedly Josephine’s surname however Josie is not an Alibrandi. Joephine becomes aware of this fact when she is 17 and although a shock, it forces her to work these issues out. For example Josie agrees with her father to make him apart of her life and also reconciles with her grandmother and learns to understand the circumstances and her grandmother’s feelings.
The title “Looking for Alibrandi” refers to the fact that Josie Alibrandi still needs to find herself. She is illegitimate, she doesn’t know who her father is and she doesn’t know if she wants him to be a part in her life. Her best friend, John Barton commits suicide and she doesn’t understand why, in her eyes John had everything: wealth, friends and breeding. This death almost breaks Josie. Josie meets a new guy, Jacob Coote and he helps her through the tough times. Josie also deals with the family dramas and finally understands her cultural identity and her past. This final year of school changes Josie’s life forever and her perspective on the world. Each of these events lead up to Josie finally discovering who she really is, she finally finds her personal identity.